GH native helps solve U.S. Virgin Islands police slaying case

Tribune Staff • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:22 AM

St. Croix Police Chief Chris Howell, and a contingent of law enforcement officers from St. Croix and Atlanta, Ga., took into custody five suspects who have been charged with the murder of U.S. Virgin Islands Police Cpl. Wendell “Lazee” Williams. Williams has been missing since June 13, 2001.

According Howell, 62 hand-picked VIPD officers on St. Croix and 70 law enforcement officers assisted with the early-morning execution of search and arrest warrants.

Arrested on St. Croix at about 3 a.m. Friday were 32-year-old Sharima Clercent of Estate Two Williams; Jose G. Ventura, 41, of Estate Whim; and Maxililiano Velasquez, 38, of Estate Clifton Hill. Jose M. Rivera Jr., 39, was arrested at 1 a.m. Friday by Georgia law enforcement; and at 10:45 a.m. Friday, Juan G. Velasquez, 29, surrendered to Virgin Islands police.

The suspects are being held on a $1.5 million dollar bail.

Howell said the disappearance of Williams and the years without closure marked one of the darkest stages in his career.

“I am confident that today will mark a new point for the VIPD and the community we serve,” the former Grand Haven man said. “This arrest should stand as a reminder to the criminal element that there is no place on this planet you can hide, nor any limitation on the amount of time that passes, that will deter police from continuing any ongoing murder investigation and fulfilling their pledge to bring all perpetrators to face justice.”

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